Why did communism fail?
The fall of communism represents the huge fall of an ideology which had captured the hearts and minds of many and was in place in many countries for a considerable period of time starting from the heart of the origin of the ideology- Russia and elsewhere. Over the past 43 years, it has failed to achieve its goals in countries including Russia. One wonders how a theory which was founded with the dream of establishing social equality everywhere, could fail so disastrously.
About the theory
The rise of communism is connected with the effects of the industrial revolution. Communism arose from the principles of socialism. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels are regarded as the fathers of communism.
Communism was proposed as a way to bring about equity and social justice in the world but resulted in bringing about a different form of totalitarian governance. The proponents of communism aimed at a classless and stateless society. Its most attractive aspect was the creation of a global workforce and the universal spirit of comradeship. The aim was to remove the sufferings of the poor by allowing them to work and earn; the government would ensure that this makes it easy
The core principle of communism was the foundation of a socio-economic structure which was based on state ownership of property and state distribution of resources; and the development of a class, the proletariat or the working class, whose sustenance was entirely derived from their labour and who made no profit from what they did.
The price of labour matches with the cost of production of labour. The price obtained by the labourer or the wages earned would be the minimum amount necessary to sustain life. The concept of the proletarian state envisaged the fact that private property has to be abolished to ensure that the proletarian does not remain a slave for all time to money and property.
In short, the ten tenets of communism were are follows
- Central banking system
- Government controlled education
- Government controlled labour
- Government ownership of transportation and communication vehicles
- Government ownership of agricultural means and factories
- The total abolition of private property
- Property rights confiscation
- Heavy income tax on everyone
- Elimination of rights of inheritance
- Regional planning
There were six key aspects of the communist system
- Centrally controlled and directed rigid organisational system and power was focussed in the hands of a few people.
- Centrally controlled economy.
- All sources and means of production were in the hands of the government. All property, which previously belonged to individuals, were taken over by the government and used for the state. The land was made entirely uninheritable so that everyone can get right to all land under state control.
- Prices – were controlled by the government.
The problems and defects with communism
- It does not believe in individual rights and the rights of people to pursue individual happiness.
- It was not able to provide a reasonably good standard of living for its citizens owing to the absence of the system of a market; as everything was carried out through the state. The state provided resources.
- There was no competitiveness; no existence of market forces as everything was done by the government; this made the citizens dependent. Did not encourage competitiveness in people, to make the best use of their talents. This made people lazy and inefficient; No one was motivated to work hard as the state-supported them. This lead to systematic corruption and greed. The state-enforced equality ensured that there was no justice done to hardworking and talented people who received the same kind of treatment as lazy and inefficient ones.
- Even though it espoused the common good for all, the communist-inspired governments ended up turning into another version of totalitarian and authoritative repressive governments. There was a considerable amount of repression, subduing and punishing of political dissenters; plus communist propaganda throve on distrust and mistrust of the west, which resulted in the Cold War period.
- There were high-income taxes, which increased according to the level of your income.
- The banking and finances were entirely in the hands of a single state.
- Excessive military spending on probably military threats also lead to depletion of national resources and depleted the finance. The resources could have been better used in building the economy and in driving the industry. The Soviet Union, for example, spent a lot on the military in Afghanistan; to counter the US influence but it proved to be very costly in the end.
- Because everything was controlled by the state and there were no market forces allowed to operate, production was done because it had to be done and not because there was an assessment of demand and supply and people’s interests. Hence it was very wasteful. There were no indicators of knowing whether something was wanted or not. People bought things even when they did not like them at prices which were determined by the state.
- There was no privacy. The government acted as a big brother. Spying organisations were in the fore to spy on nations, considered hostile to it as well as on their own “dissident” citizens.